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People offended by His Grace- THE RELIGIOUS CROWD

JesusLovesSinner

I recently shared this post https://www.xxxchurch.com/thehaps/goodnight-hugh-hefner.html by Craig Gross; Pastor and Founder of XXXCHURCH.com –  A church that realizes that sex addiction and porn addiction are real problems. They use the web, social media, and news media to tell a story often left untold. They are committed to helping men and women regain control of their lives by conquering issues like pornography addiction and sex addiction; offering multiple resources to help with pornography addiction treatment.

First and foremost, let me say this, I DO NOT CONDONE porn of any sort;- hard, soft, etc… whatever term there is for it – I do not condone it, but I do love the people who are in the industry. They’re hurting souls searching for fulfillment.

I shared the post because of this one phrase: Porn leaves you on empty. Come on… everyone who watches it can agree. So, why wouldn’t the guy creating it feel the same exact way?

If you read the post, its talking about a man who works at the mansion and is in ministry. (gasssp- a Christian infiltrating the enemy’s camp- how dare he!) He was a trusted man in the mansion and he was telling the story of Hugh Hefner reading, “The Purpose Driven Life”.

Maybe he purchased it. Maybe it was a gift. Maybe it was simply placed there as something to read to pass the time. Or maybe, just maybe, Hugh was hurting. Maybe, all the temporary emotions and temporary gratifications of this world could no longer fulfill him? Maybe he was searching for more. Maybe he had finally came to the end of himself and realized he needed a Savior? I wasn’t there, so I don’t know; but I do know that Jesus knows.

I do know how much Jesus loves Hugh. As a matter of fact Jesus loved Hugh before the foundations of this world! Jesus actually died for Hugh too. Jesus wanted to make Hugh whole and lavish His love all over him! Jesus was known for loving the outcast and the sinner. He’s friends with them. He loved them so much the RELIGIOUS crowd wanted Jesus dead. How could they condemn the sinner when Jesus went around setting people free?

So why am I writing this? A friend commented on my post and said, “It’s amazing and appalling that people use “God’s” name to justify just about anything they want…..”

That statement wrecked me; and not in a good way! At first I wanted to allow the anger pumping in my veins to respond; but knew I couldn’t let my emotions do the talking. I am simply amazed and appalled that people judge people so quickly. I am amazed and appalled how, us, as Christians, could so easily be seen as modern day Pharisees. We ask God to send us to the ones who need us the most and shun the path when it leads to a strip club, a street corner or a Playboy Mansion. Personally, I love messy ministry. I love the outcast. I love the ones people deem unworthy. Just as the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears; she was forgiven of so much that she loved Him so lavishly! I want to see people healed and set free! When people like Pamela Anderson came out against the porn industry, I rejoiced, but was immediately saddened when people came against her and said, “Sure, now that you have made your millions you’re against it!” God forbid! People cannot even change their ways after an encounter with Jesus without being thrown under the religious bus! We tend to accept “Little sins” as forgiveable and condemn the person with “too big for Jesus to forgive sin.”

So yes, I am too am amazed and appalled that people will used God’s name to justify just about anything they want; namely being self righteous and judgemental in the name of Jesus.

Ordinary People exonerated by the grace of Jesus

The Woman at the well (Jn 4:1-)

The Woman caught in the very act of adultery (John 8:1-)

The thief on the cross (Lk 23)

Paul (ITim 1) (Acts9)

ME

YOU

Hugh Hefner

People offended by his Grace- THE RELIGIOUS CROWD

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He’s Good Ya’ll

I think it’s real cute how God saw fit that a worship leader would be my husband. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I love to make a joyful noise- and worship music is my favorite.

It has never failed over the years that every season of my soul, a song would be written and aired over the radio waves and land in my heart and situation.

The song “Oceans” was the song of my heart during the call and move to Birmingham; it comforted me and reassured me during times I didn’t know if I would make it.

During the time God was teaching me how much he loved me, “No Longer Slaves” & “Good-Good Father” came out and illuminated the journey I was on with Him.

I am sure I could go back and highlight songs from the past 16 years of my journey, but I won’t because that’s not my focus.

My recent focus has been on just WHO HE IS!!! Currently “King of My Heart” by Bethel owns me, especially when my hubby sings it.

We had a worship night at church the other night and during this song as I was worshipping I heard the Father say, “Jennifer, you are troubled about many things. Be like Mary and choose the better thing.” It was just as sweet as I imagine it was when he said the same words to Martha in Luke 10:41-42. I have meditated over these words and listened to “King of My Heart” daily since that night.

It’s true. I have been troubled about many things lately. Not worried, because I know God carries me, but my mind is constantly on go! Derek and I have just recently started a photography business and my mind is constantly racing trying to come up with marketing ideas, buying new equipment, and all those sorts of things have been on my mind from the time I get up in the morning until I got to bed at night!

But my mind keeps going back to His words. “Choose the better thing”.

In the scriptures of Luke 10:38-42 we find Martha had opened her home to Jesus as he came through town. In verse 40 (NIV) it says Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made! (I could easily erase Martha’s name and put my own there). But in verse 39 we see Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus; which later in verse 42 was described as “what is better”.

And that’s where I got hung up. WHAT IS BETTER?

What did Mary choose that was better? What did she see in this man that was better?
My thoughts on this may differ from yours; but this is my own personal revelation as it applied to me.

To me, Martha was up running around trying to accomplish everything on her own and in her own and exhausting herself. She had opened her home to Jesus (which to me signifies opening my heart and life to him) but taking so much care and concern about providing for Him distracted her from getting to know Him.

Mary on the other hand chose to sit at His feet. To sit at the feet of the Prince of Peace. The feet of the one who could turn water into wine and multiply bread and fish into a feast! The feet of the one who had healing, health, prosperity, hope.

Mary sat expectant of Him. Martha wanted to perform in order to be worthy of those things. (this is also a beautiful example of the contrast between law and grace.)

Mary chose what was BETTER and as verse 42 (NIV) states, ‘It can never be taken away from her.”

I believe when His word is so settled in our heart; as it was in Mary’s; though we might get distracted; the Hope we have in Him will keep us grounded.
Psalm 34:18 says: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Once we have tasted the goodness of our Father and take refuge in Him we can’t help but willingly let Him be the King of our Heart. We can’t help but to trust Him. To know Him. To Love Him.

He’s not a forceful father demanding our love. He’s a patient and loving Father desiring us to taste His goodness. (Verse 10) of that same chapter says, “Those who seek Him will lack no good thing”.  I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be lacking in any area of my life!

Knowing who our Father is and knowing His true nature and our position in Him will give us the confidence of David! I love I Sam. 17:37! David is so confident and bold! “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear [will] rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Then over in Psalm. 118:6 it says, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

OH WHAT CONFIDENCE in our Father we can have!!!

When we are confident of how loved we are by Him, it will be easy to let Him be the King of our heart. It will be easy to let these lyrics be truth in our lives:

Let the King of my heart
Be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from
Oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life
Oh, He is my song

And let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh-oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh-oh, He is my song

When we, are confident that HE IS GOOD and that it is not His nature to fail us; and when things aren’t going right we will RUN TO HIM and not away from Him because we are so sure and so confident that he will provide for us- EFFORTLESSLY! When we truly choose WHAT IS BETTER, JESUS, we will be at peace in the midst of any storm because the same God who rescued David from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, will rescue us from any situation! He will be our first stop in a crisis instead of our last resort.

He is good and He will never fail us.

He cant. It isn’t His nature.

Here’s the link to my favorite version of this song. The spontaneous worship is the best! https://youtu.be/g6_BLuhr0HQ

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Stop Being a B****

Bword

Stop Being a B****

Now that I have your attention, please take a moment to read!
I cannot stand the “B” word. It’s one of the most derogatory words used to describe a female. It has transitioned over the years.
http://www.vocabulary.com :B**** is a commonly used slang word that is nonetheless vulgar when you throw it at a woman or a man. The word originally meant, and still means, a female dog. This word for a female pooch has evolved to a more common meaning: a woman you don’t like.
Websters: a lewd or immoral woman; a malicious, spiteful or overbearing woman
SOCIETY has taken this word, once seemingly used to describe a female dog and twisted it to describe difficult women, whining and situations. But over the last few years, it has transitioned into more!
We hear it on t.v., in music, conversations and among friends. We have young ladies aspiring to be like the women in music videos, movies and songs. Becoming someones “B” is something to be attained in this broken world. It’s monogrammed on clothes with cute little asterisks to hide the real letters. It’s used to describe certain groups of friends; (ie; Mean Girls). It’s used to identify someone’s girlfriend or spouse, “Hey man, is that your B**** ?” It’s used to expres our emotions; “B**** please!!” It’s used to intimidate others into submission! It’s used to degrade & humiliate.

IT’S NOT OK. AND WE NEED TO STOP.

If you want to make a grown man fight another human being, call his mom, his wife, his daughter, his sister or just a friend the B word.
Want to set off another human being? Use the B word to describe one of the beloved women in his or her life!

That’s the way it used to be.

Now, the “B” word has almost become a popular greeting! A term of endearment. Seems the more adjectives you add in using this term, the better! (IE;) That’s one bad “B” ! A phrase to describe women who are pleasing to the eyes! [Bad has become good]! Maybe I am just old but if someone used that sentence to describe me growing up, my brothers would have been all over them! If someone called me that today, my husband would likely end up in jail! But in certain circles, saying, “What’s up my B******” is equivalent to saying “Hi” !

I’m so tired of hearing it in music to describe a woman. It’s so degrading. Yet, we allow our kids to drink it in; and in return they grow up in world where it’s socially accepted! It’s just disgusting.

Can we take a moment to review Proverbs 31 and see how God describes women?
V10 tells us that she is valued far above rubies!! V11-12 describes her as trustworthy and good! V13-15 shows how she works hard to be caretaker not only for her family but also her maidens. A servant. V16 describes her as wise! Buying land after careful consideration; then using her investment as a vineyard that will not only provide nourishment for her household, but will also bring in monetary profits; thus further benefitting her family! V17- she is Strong! V18-19 she is crafty! She works with her hands into the late night to provide for her family! V20 She is a GIVER! She cares for the poor! And I believe because she has been so wise and profitable she gives without fear of lack in her own household! V21-22 She is prepared! She has taken precautions for the winter months to keep her family warm by making covers for her family! V23 She was particular in choosing her mate. He’s a man of good reputation. Well respected and looked up to. V23-24 Describes her as a business woman. Making and selling clothing in the markets. She has a good head on her shoulders. Doing her fair share to help provide for their family. V25 again she is described as strong but with the addition of honorable. V26 She is wise and kind. V27 She is not lazy. She makes sure her household is taken care of. V28- she is a good mother. Her children wake up and call her a blessing because she is so mindful of their needs! She is a good wife! Her husband sings her praises! V30 – Loves the Lord.

So let’s review: VALUED, TRUSTWORTHY & GOOD, HARD WORKING, SERVANT,WISE, STRONG,CRAFTY, GENEROUS,PREPARED, WELL MARRIED, BUSINESS MINDED, HONORABLE, WISE & KIND, ENERGIZED, MOTHERLY, A GOOD WIFE; BLESSED, LOVES THE LORD.

Not once is the “B” word used to describe her, uplift her, or degrade her. I know some of you are thinking, “well if you knew how so and so acted you couldn’t use any of those words to describe her” !

Proverbs 18:21 says there is POWER in our words. Death and Life. If a young lady grows up being called a “B” all the time, she’s going to have the mentality of a “B” and act that way. But if we change our vocabulary over our children and our society, and start valuing young girls and women and speak life changing words over them, then So and So might act differently. I love the phrase, “Broken people do broken things.” That’s the key right there. These broken “B”’s don’t know how valued they are because society has taught them from an early age to identify as the world calls them. And that’s a problem.

Be the solution. Be a life giver.

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Serving the Church or Your Ego ?

Today, on may to work, as I do most morings, I was listening to WAYFM- Birmingham, my favorite radio station. The topic was about what turned people away from churches they visted while trying to find thier new church home. I heard things from visitor parking, to not being able to “blend in”. But something that just really has me on my soap box was this lady who had been visiting a church for 8 months. She liked it, but was finding it difficult to find a place to serve in the church.

A)  YOU ARE THE CHURCH

B) THE PLACE WHERE YOU GATHER TO WORSHIP COLLECTIVELY IS THE BUILDING.

If you are finding it difficult to find a place to serve then I think you are looking more for a position or a title. (That’s my opinion- take it or leave it) 

While there may be areas in the church that there isn’t room for you to serve, if you will look around long enough, you will find; A widow who would love company, a child who needs the love of a mother or father who isn’t there, a single mom who needs a financial miracle, someone sick who needs a meal cooked for them so they can rest, a couple struggling in their marriage who needs counseling; whatever your calling may or may not be, there is someone you can serve inside your local church! And if you are willing, there are people, if you dare, outside the 4 walls of the church building who need you to serve them! [gasp]  One simple act of kindess can shine the light of Jesus and forever change someone’s life!

Never feel like you don’t have a place to serve your church! This world is BIG and aches for someone like you to step out and make a differnce!

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Birmingham Alabama, Gift, Uncategorized

Calvin Smiles

Today, as I spoke to my friend Jeannie, the organizer of our Homeless Ministry here in Birmingham,  she began to tell me about Calvin;  a little boy from a family we get to minister to every month at the Fire House Shelter downtown. [we meet and hand out basic necessities and food to upwards and of 100 men and women].

This month, because of Christmas, we rallied our friends, families, neighbors and even some strangers together to make sure Calvin and his family had a great Christmas!

But to today, Calvin taught me something. Today, Calvin was cold. Jeannie handed him a brand new jacket and gloves that had been donated for him and she said his little face lit up. She then gave him a backpack that was full of toys and books that had also been so graciously donated just for him. She said Calvin opened the backpack, looked inside and asked, ” What can I have?”  Jeannie then explained to him that it all belonged to him. A Christmas gift all of his own!  Jeannie explained his excitement to me because I couldn’t be there and she  sent me a picture. Of Calvin. Smiling. Since his family started coming to the monthly outreach I have yet to see this precious guy smile. But today, he smiled; a most beautiful smile I may never forget.

As I thought about Calvin and his lack of understanding that the entire backpack and the contents belonged to him, his gift; I began to think of the gift of Jesus.

Jesus came- as a gift to the world. And inside this gift of Jesus we have health, wealth, wholeness, forgiveness, prosperity, love, mercy, grace, provision, and anything we need!!! We so easily accept the gift of Jesus and are elated to have Him live in us; but we fail to realize He’s given us all things wrapped up in Himself!! It’s impossible to receive Jesus without receiving all the other gifts that are wrapped up inside of Him. However, it’s possible not to access them if we don’t realize they belong to us!!

The analogy of someone secretly depositing a million dollars into your bank account but can’t be used until you have the knowledge of it being there has been used a million times, but it seems relevant here.

Jesus has already given us all things that pertain to life and godliness inside himself; and it was his good pleasure to do so!!

My husband once preached about how we have a “benefit package” in life with Jesus.  Life with Jesus is;  Jesus and healing. Jesus and forgiveness. Jesus and restoration. Jesus and provision! Jesus and….. Insert what you need here. It’s yours with Jesus already!! You just have to unwrap the gift of Jesus! You don’t have to choose just a healing today and save provision for another day, because you have Jesus! You have it all!!

Jesus is your all inclusive gift!!!

If the homeless is something that tugs at your heart and you’d like to get involved, please like my Facebook page: Hope For the Homeless  or click this link to donate via gofundme: http://dm2.gofund.me/BhamHOPE

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The House That Taught Me

A few months ago I stood in the yard of a home I had hoped to purchase. Three bedroom brick home that sat on over an acre. Huge back yard, a garden plot, tool sheds, a double garage, a screened in back porch, a deck, and plenty of distance between me and the neighbors.  As I stood there, I asked God, “Could I really have something this nice?”  Up until this point in my life we had always rented, but Derek and I were ready to settle down into the place where God called us, a place we lovingly call our “There”. I stood there a moment, looking over the property with hope in my heart and heard my Father say to me, “Honey, you can have all things!” With that, I purposed in my heart, whether it was this house or another house, we were buying a home! Our first home! After leaving the property I went home and looked it up on-line for a virtual tour. The price was right, the exterior was right; but the interior was not. It was dated! Green glass tile bathrooms, pine knot wooden walls; everything about this house screamed OLD! I could almost smell mildew and dust through the screen of my Ipad. I told myself, and Derek, we could fix it up and make it nice. But in my heart I knew that really wasn’t what we wanted. Derek and I agreed that we should continue looking. With a promise in my heart from my Father, we continued to look. For days when I would get off of work Derek and I would drive, and dream. Bouncing from street to street, neighborhood to neighborhood looking for our home.  Eventually, we found “the one”. It was better! Everything we had looked for! Built on an acre lot with an updated interior, in a nice private neighborhood, close to town and close to Elijah’s school! (And the price was much cheaper than the prior) we made the house our new home.

I drove by the old house the other day. The one where God made His promise to me. I looked at it and thought, “I sure loved that house! The outside was so nice”. Then it occurred to me; the outside is usually what attracts us to things. The way things look to us. Our spouses, the color of clothes, the way the body of our car is built. Something about the outside always attracts us. It isn’t until we take a look under the hood of the car, take time get to know someone, or try on our clothes that we can determine if it is something that is truly right for us. As I meditated on that thought, something else occurred to me. The same is true for the Law. We love the law, because on the outside, it looks real good! If I can keep all 10 of these commandments and walk perfectly, then I will achieve the goal of going to heaven and be with Jesus. Jesus being the ultimate goal, we wander around aimlessly wondering if we will ever measure up and be good enough for Him. But if we look beyond the exterior of the Law, we see it is messed up. We see that it is impossible to keep the law and earn His grace and favor. When we realize that the Law is dated, and look beyond the surface and take time to see what He really has for us is something greater, we will see Grace. Grace has an awesome exterior! It draws us in with love; nothing we did brought us into Grace. Grace just existed. We can’t polish the law and make it look like Grace. We can’t remodel the law; Hebrews 8:6-9 says there is a new plan! The old covenant has been thrown away! We have a new covenant established on better promises!! Just like that old house that I tried to make myself love; the old covenant will try to make you love God to receive all His goodness and all His benefits; but if you will see through past the old covenant you will realize it’s dated, and there is too much work to be done; you will see through until you finally realize that Jesus came and established a new convenant. One where He already loves you, and gives you all things already because of who He is and what He has done! Rest in Jesus. Rest in His grace. Rest in the finished work of the cross!

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Playing Hide and Seek with the Father

imageIsaiah 5:6 – Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near

I’ll be honest, I have never really put a whole lot of thought into this scripture.  It’s never just stopped me in my tracks, took my breath away or brought me a ton of comfort in any of life’s situations.  You know, it just isn’t one of those scriptures we confess over ourselves or take up and go to war with. It wasn’t until recently I have ever put a whole lot of thought into it.

Derek and I are in the beginning stages of buying a home. We’ve driven all over neighborhoods we like looking for the perfect place to put our roots down in the city God called us to. We found a house we both loved in the perfect location. A mile from “town”, a mile from Elijah’s school (that would allow me to take him to school before I head to work), a big, nice acre lot and room to entertain!   We put an offer in and started the process of the bank loan. In the mean time we received a counter offer. A nice one! But before we countered, we wanted to secure the loan.

The loan officer called and said he couldn’t process the loan because my credit score was on the “teetering side” and was less likely to be approved. Told me a few things that needed paid to come off our credit reports and re-apply in 3 months. So, we paid the bills and now we wait.

In the mean time, I won’t call any names, but God began to use His sources. (Did you know He would supply EVERY need?). Anyway, God begin to work on someone’s heart that knew we were trying to buy a home. They offered to hold the loan for us until we get approved for our loan! So, we’ve submitted the offer, they countered, we countered, they countered and then we submitted our final offer on the house. I have even packed a few non necessary items in preparation to move quickly!  Now, I’m just waiting. And waiting is where God has been teaching me over the last few months. Teaching me to be still. To wait on Him. He would reveal certain words to me and I would write them down and meditate on them. All of them words of rest. Words of waiting.  All of them, if I would tend to them, would keep me from doing something that I could never achieve in my own power. I would have thoughts like, maybe if I just messaged the homeowners on facebook and plead with them, they would accept the previous offer of rent until purchase we had extended to them after the bank turned us down temporarily.  But He wouldn’t let me. He kept reminding me to BE STILL and wait on Him. Wait on His provision. And let me just tell you, IT IS HARD! Not all the time; just when I let my flesh get in the way of the Spirit.

But I started thinking the other day, “God, you could just tell me if this is my house or not. Whether to move on or not, wait more or go ahead and pack or leave everything right where it is. And then it hit me, I could have sought God about it first. Before we stepped foot in it, before we made an offer. Before I let the bank check my credit and lower it with their hard hit! That’s where this scripture comes into play: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” I don’t know about you, but I find after my heart and flesh gets wrapped up in a thing and I’ve already formed my own wants and opinions, it’s hard for me to hear the voice of the Lord; or accept it as His when He does speak to me about it.  It isn’t impossible to hear Him, my judgement about the situation is just clouded with my wants and my thoughts, that His get lost!  He may be on the otherside screaming to me with caution; and I’m over here in Believersville quoting, “He is for me and not against me scriptures!”

So, I’ve said all this to say, Seek the Lord with all your heart, FIRST! Seek Him and wisdom will be added unto you! You will know what to do in the hour to make decisions!  Seek Him before your mind is clouded and the voice of God gets drowned out! Otherwise, later on down the road you may find your self shaking your fist angrily at your provider asking, “Why!! Why did you allow this to happen to me!”

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